BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Unilever named Laura Klauberg, VP-media for the Americas region, as its new global media chief, succeeding Alan Rutherford, who left in June to become CEO of Publicis Groupe's Digitas Global.
Ms. Klauberg, 52, is the first American and first woman to take on the global media role for the Anglo-Dutch company, which ranks just behind rival Procter & Gamble Co. as the second-biggest global media spender. She'll report to Simon Rothon, senior VP-marketing services, when she assumes the post at the end of the month. According to Advertising Age's Leading National Advertisers edition, Unilever spent $2.1 billion on advertising in the U.S. last year, up 8% from 2005.
"She brings special insights -- particularly in the rapidly evolving digital arena -- where Unilever has made great progress over the last two years, something recognized in the unique achievements of winning Grand Prix awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival for both Cyber [for Dove] and Titanium [for Axe]," Mr. Rothon said in a statement.
Ms. Klauberg rose through Unilever's U.S. personal-care business, joining through the Chesebrough-Ponds acquisition in the 1990s and ultimately becoming senior VP-marketing for the company's former prestige personal-care business, including Calvin Klein. She became VP-media for North America in 2005 and added Latin American media to her oversight last year.
The recent, rapid pace of change in media is what attracted her to the specialty after a career in general marketing, she said.
'Take some risks'
"I think relative to our [package-goods] peer group, we've done some really excellent work," she said in an interview earlier this year after being named a "Woman to Watch" by Ad Age. "We've been willing to take some risks I'm not sure others have been willing to take."
"I think she's made the leap into media very quickly," said Shari Cohen, president and co-executive director of national broadcast for WPP Group's MindShare, which handles Unilever in most of the world. "We're only as good as our clients enable us to be, and she's enabled us to be very innovative."
Ms. Klauberg will divide her time mainly between offices in the U.S. and London, a spokeswoman said.
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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to Alan Rutherford as CEO of Digitas. He is actually CEO of Digitas Global, which covers operations outside the U.S. David Kenny is Chairman-CEO of all of Digitas.